During the month of April last year, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge - one alphabet-themed post per day (except Sundays). I had such a good time with it that I'm doing it again this year. I'm loosely organized on the theme of downsizing, minimalism, and small-home living that I've learned in 14 years of living on a small boat. I'm starting with A is for Anchoring Out, Anger-ing Out, and ending with Z is for Zout and Zwarte Peper (Dutch for salt and black pepper). Click on the A to Z logo on the lower left sidebar for links to many other bloggers participating in the challenge.
|You never know. (image from here)|
One of the biggest challenge for me is finding a balance in living simply. On the one hand, we want to live with less and be open to new experiences. But on the other hand, when we think about having what we need to be self-sufficient when we're off the grid or at sea, we can get into almost hoarder territory. You never know if you're going to be able to find a marine supply store if something breaks, better carry a supply of spare parts. You never know if you're going to find friends in the next anchorage and want to invite them over for happy hour, better provision with lots of snacks and munchies. You never know if you will (somehow) find a way to reuse the piece of teak left over from the last boat project you did, better store it somewhere. And, my particular challenge: finding a special food ingredient or condiment that I love and learn to depend on. Knowing I'd be frustrated if I couldn't find it again when I wanted it, so stocking up on lots. All too often, it sits in the lockers slowly aging when I find a new enthusiasm.
It reminds me of the parable about the traveler who was walking to another distant village and found the path blocked by a wide river. He cast about in the woods and gathered materials and made himself a raft. He crossed the river safely. The rest of his voyage, though, was terribly burdened, because he decided to bring the raft along, just in case he came to another river.
The moral of the simple-living story, of course, is that the lesson of the raft can be taken two ways. Certainly experience has taught our traveler that there are rivers that need crossing, and it's handy to have a tool to cross them with. But experience has also taught him that he's creative and can build a good-enough raft from materials at hand. He might have to repeat his work if there is a second river, but in the meantime he can travel lighter.
So while I try to prepare for you-never-know-what, I have to also learn that I don't need to prepare for everything; it's also okay, even advisable, to leave room for spontaneous solutions so I can travel a bit more lightly. Our boat's waterline will appreciate it.
= = = =
(Except for knowledge, of course. I love filing away random bits of knowledge, that you never know when they will be applicable. Besides, knowledge takes no space!)